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Lisa Marcucci – Environmental Activist (Part 1 of 3)

By Admin | May 19, 2008

Lisa Marcucci is a long-time environmental activist in the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania area and a member of the Jefferson Action Group. We recently had a chance to catch up with her to discuss her career and the current problems she is investigating.


Where are you from?

I have lived in western Pennsylvania my entire life, growing up in West Mifflin, PA and now residing in Jefferson Hills, PA – approximately 12 miles south of Pittsburgh.

Where did you go to college and what was your academic major?

I attended Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, graduating in 1981, with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Journalism.

What was your career path from college to your current position?

After college I spent 12 years working in the broadcast industry as an advertising sale representative for several Pittsburgh radio stations, including KDKA, America’s first radio station.

Following my 12 years in radio I worked for several years as a marketing consultant with positions as a regional representative for a Louisville, Kentucky based advertising agency and then a Pittsburgh hospital.

In 1992 I became a stay-at-home mom.

How did you get involved in environmental activism?

If anyone told me I would morph my career into environmental advocacy I would have told them they were crazy!

I had no such training – until I became the proverbial lioness protecting her cubs – and many other cubs, as well. The maternal protective instinct set me on my path to advocating for human health and environmental protections.

What was your first environmental issue?

In 1995 a local developer, in conjunction with Duquesne Light Company (a western Pennsylvania utility company) proposed to dump 500,000 tons of power plant waste into my parents’ backyard.

Immediately, my family and I asked if and how these wastes could affect the health of the residents within the community.

We got more questions than answers – and quickly learned that the PA Department of Environmental Protection (PA DEP) was helping to advance these waste dumping projects – without proof these industrial wastes were safe.

PA DEP official in charge of permitting such waste dumping told me on January 15, 1998, “The PA DEP will presume these wastes are safe until you (Lisa) can prove otherwise.”

And so the gauntlet was laid down. I would work to research these wastes and their impacts to human health, land, air and water.

The only support network I had early-on was my family. I didn’t even have access to the internet and did all my research through the library and networking with all the environmental groups I could find.

Early in my quest, environmental groups, including the Sierra Club told me they did not know enough about coal combustion wastes (CCW) more commonly known as fly ash. So, all I have learned has been self-taught.

Now, over a decade later I am proud to say that my network has grown to include far more than just my family.

Who is in your network of environmental allies?

I count among my colleagues the Sierra Club, the Environmental Integrity Project (EIP), Clean Air Task Force, National Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Clean Air Council, Clean Water Action, Group Against Smog and Pollution (GASP), Earth Justice, Greenpeace, Mountain Watershed Association.

On the local level my allies are the Youghiogheny Riverkeepers, Susquehanna Riverkeepers, PA Environmental Network (PEN), Army for a Clean Environment, Allegheny River Stewardship Project, the University of Pittsburgh School of Public Health – Environmental Oncology Division.

And most importantly, many residents whose lives are directly impacted by lack of environmental enforcement.

Do you travel out of the Pittsburgh region to do advocacy?

I am proud to say that I have been invited to represent those communities impacted by power plant pollution and coal wastes within two important venues.

(The) National Academy of Sciences (NAS) on October 27, 2004 in both Washington, DC and Harrisburg, PA. This prestigious panel was charged by the United States Congress to study coal combustion wastes (CCW).

The National Academy of Sciences was created by President Abraham Lincoln to provide expert scientific opinions on specialized issues facing Congress.

I was the only citizen invited to present on behalf of affected communities.

On April 24, 2008 I presented community impacts perspective at Clean Air Councils – Future of Coal Forum – in Harrisburg, PA. http://sites/dailyinterview.net/files.cleanair.org/coalconversation/coal_agenda.htm

I have been honored to be selected to speak on behalf of my family, my community as well as all communities impacted by coal mining and power plant pollution.

Copyright 2008 DailyInterview.com

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